Paris Theatre Technical Director Toledano Dies after Blast
Paris – The technical director of a Paris musical died of a heart attack after a faulty power tool set off fireworks at an arena, investigators said. Police said Marcus Toledano, 41, was among several people who rushed to the scene of the blast at the Palais des Sports in the south-west of the city. A second explosion then caused a wall to collapse. Several others were injured, five seriously, police said.
It came hours before the start of a musical about the French revolution. Investigators said Mr Toledano’s heart had stopped when rescue workers arrived and he later died in hospital. Flowers and messages of condolence were being left near the entrance to the arena on Saturday. The injured were mostly stage hands who were setting up for the evening performance of 1789, the Lovers of the Bastille. The show was cancelled as a result of the blasts.
Culture minister Aurelie Filippetti spoke of her “great sadness” at Mr Toledano’s death. Producer Albert Cohen said it was terrible news. “All our efforts are going towards helping his family… in what is a difficult moment, as you can imagine.” An employee told AFP news agency that only cast and crew were on site at the time. Mr Cohen said four employees who were in hospital overnight would be discharged later on Saturday.
An initial investigation determined that the initial explosion had been caused by the disc of a circular saw breaking away and igniting fireworks to be used in the show. Several others received treatment, though some only needed to have their hearing checked after being exposed to the loud blasts.
1789: The Lovers of the Bastille was first shown in Paris last year and has also been performed outside Paris. The Palais des Sports has a capacity of 4,500 and is one of the French capital’s largest performance spaces. It hosted the premiere of Les Miserables in 1980. (BBC)